Last week the first year students were introduced to the LU meridian. With the LU's actions still fresh in my head, it indeed began to mix and meld, and certain dots were connected. Now they might seem totally disjointed but everything just kinda fell into place in my head about why kids in particular seem to catch colds and flus like clockwork each fall. Either that or I am way off base and shouldn't be exposed to dangerous information like this :)
Colder weather and dry air are the common culprits, but how can young and vibrant kids go from seemingly healthy one week and deteriorate so quickly the next? Throw in some emotional disturbance like stress from starting up a new school year, some kid-dietary blahs, and that t'is the season of metal and lungs, and I think you'll almost have a perfect recipe. Strength of the pathogen vs. strength of the wei qi comes into play at some point. And while this battle is waged right under our skin, so to speak, consider this dot: that after a two month break from penmanship and developing fine motor skills, kids are asked to jump right back in and actually use those hand and arm muscles.
I'm asking if its right to think that all of the clenching of those muscles from gripping a pencil would cause the qi to get stuck or become blocked, affecting wei qi and opening the doors to welcome in the pathogens. Apart from the very obvious, is there a relationship between back to school and catching colds?
For the last 5+ years we've happily invested a nice amount of preschool tuition in the kids, so that they can master the art of 'tonging', literally picking up small beans with tongs and moving them back and forth from one cup to another, over and over again, progressing to smaller and smaller beans and tongs/tweezers after they've mastered the last size. There are tons of other non-productive activities of this sort to fill their day, all having the aim to strengthen those hand muscles that they've never used before, for the hope of better pencil control in the future. Each fall those small people complain about sore hands. Could this seize up some qi? Last week I learned that their thenar eminences might think so.
So I've classified this as the physical piece, the one dot that I have a relatively large degree of control over. If indeed weak, tight arm muscles can be a factor in whether or not someone catches a cold, I'm thinking arm exercises, to keep a good flow of qi to the area and those muscles strong, is the missing piece that can tip the battle in favor of wei qi over the pathogenic factor. Until proven otherwise, this will be one of my reasons why some people get sick all the time and some people manage to avoid colds; that everything else equal, they can manage their wei qi better with exercise, in particular arm exercises. I can't be too off-base when I wonder if only kids would wear thicker clothes, eat healthier, be happier, sleep better, and do arm exercises would they not get sick??? :) Perhaps schools could implement arm exercises to go with their carpel-tunnel-syndrome-inducing exercises (aka computer labs)?
As I write this I hear the whispers and echos of TCM enthusiasts past, present and future scream at me "D-UH". First, don't undervalue exercise. And second, it's never just one factor.